To watch Fr. Richard Vosko’s homily from the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
The story is told of Alfred Hitchcock being disappointed at the small portions at a private dinner party. When the host said to him, “I do hope you dine with us again soon.” Hitchcock replied, “By all means, let’s start now!” (Obviously, his hunger had not been satisfied, eh?”)
In today’s first reading, the Israelites are hungry. They are truly in need of physical nourishment and God provides for them by sending then food in the form of manna.
In the Gospel, however, the people searching for Jesus are no longer physically hungry. Today’s passage follows immediately after the miracle of the loaves and fish that we heard last weekend.
Jesus knows that the people looking for him, having had their physical needs meet, were now free to hear and receive the Good News that Jesus had to offer them: the bread of life, a relationship with them
Notice what Jesus does. He starts from the ground up. Jesus meets their personal needs before he offers them “true food,” the bread of life that was his very self.
Many people today observe, lament, wonder where all the people are in our churches? Reasons or thoughts prevail, but maybe, like Jesus, we need to ask again and again and again what are the needs of this person… this single mother; this teenager; this widower; this homebound person; this frazzled parent; this stranger at our door?
Jesus’s example suggests we meet the very real needs of people again and again. Needs like food, clothing, shelter, health care, time spent with a lonely person, a caring presence, a comforting word, a supportive word… Needs like time spent with another.
Maybe the picture on the front cover of today’s Bulletin says it well, “We often underestimate the power of regular conversations – over coffee or a meal – to change the hearts of loved ones and strangers.”
Almost sounds like something Jesus would say and do.
We all hunger in some way or ways. Christians throughout the centuries have not only joined together to satisfy the numerous hungers and needs of others, but so have individuals, like ourselves, who take time as a person or family to bring others closer to Jesus, by making a friend and being a friend to another.
May we continue to do as Jesus did in his time, here in our time, individually and collectively meeting the needs of others and eventually, offer others the true bread from heaven that God provides: a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
If we knew the world would end one month from today, what would we do right now ???
My guess is that we would spend every minute contacting as many people as we could to tell them one or all of three things:
“I’m Sorry” — “I Forgive You” — “I Love You”
Because, after all, our relationships with others and with God are what brings LASTING HAPPINESS.
This is the message Jesus is offering us in today’s Gospel story: Live now what matters forever! “For where your Treasure is, your Heart also will be.”
Scripture Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15; Ephesians 4: 17-14; John 6: 24-35
Many years ago, there was a song sung at Mass that said, “look beyond the bread you eat, see your Savior and your Lord, look beyond the wine you drink and see your Savior and your Lord.”
Last weekend and this weekend we read and hear about the feeding of God’s people on journey to the promised land and as they yearned for the food of life that only comes from God.
Like the song above suggests, we who receive this gift of God – this bread and wine, this Holy Communion – need to look beyond…
For we who eat the bread of life are called to put on the new selves of righteousness, holiness and truth. We need to not only take care of ourselves, but we need to look beyond ourselves and care for one another and others.
True story: After lecturing at a University in Canada, a minister found himself stranded in a bus station during a surprise October snowstorm. Cold and wet, he finally found a seat at the bus café counter. A cranky, tired man in a greasy apron took his order – all they had was soup, one kind. So the minister ordered soup. The gray goop was the worst thing he had ever eaten. He wrapped his hands around the bowl – at least it kept his hands warm.
Then the door opened again, letting in the icy wind. “Close the door!” somebody yelled. In came a woman in a threadbare coat. She took a seat not far from the minister. The cranky man in the greasy apron took her order. “Glass of water,” she mumbled.
He brought the water. “Now, what do you want?”
“Just a glass of water and a chance to get warm.”
“Look, I have customers that pay – what do you think this is a Church or something? If you are not going to order, you have got to leave!”
The man got real loud about it. So she got up to leave – and, as if rehearsed, everybody in the little café got up and started toward the door. The minister got up and said to the man in the greasy apron, “I am voting for something here; I do not know what it is.”
“All right, all right, all right,” the cranky man in the greasy apron said. Everybody sat down again and he brought the woman a bowl of soup.
The minister asked the person sitting next to him, “who is she?”
“I never saw her in here before,” was the reply.
The place grew quiet; all the minister heard was the sipping of that awful soup. The minister decided to try it again and put his spoon into the bowl.
“You know”, said the minister later, “it really was not bad. Everyone was eating the soup, and it was pretty good soup. I have no idea what kind of soup it was. I do not know what was in it, but I do recall when I was eating it, it tasted a little bit like bread and wine. Just a little like bread and wine.”
May we as person, families and parish continue to allow the word, the eucharistic sacrament we hear and share in each week to guide us in being authentic disciples of the Lord… worthy of the name and eager to share “our bread” with others.
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55: 1-3; Romans 8: 35-39; Matthew 4: 13-21
Like many of the Gospels, we hear them, but do we hear them?
Just maybe Jesus’ words to his disciples, “Give them some food yourselves,” are also words meant for us today.
We like the disciples of our Gospel today are often very quick to say we do not have the resources to meet whatever the need.
One weekend before Mass begins, you’re sitting in you pew, and find yourself praying: “God, please help the young couple next door. Their baby is not doing well and they are back and forth from the hospital several times a day.
But, if you listen closely, you might hear God reply, “Why don’t you do something to help them?”
“I’d like to, but I have nothing.”
But you hear God counter, “You have a great recipe for steak tips. Make a batch and take it over to them some afternoon. They would welcome it. You do have something to share.
One weekend during the Pastor’s Stewardship Report, you sigh to yourself, “Tell me about it, Father. Money and time is tight all over.”
And in the quiet of the moment in your heart, you hear God, “So why don’t you lend a hand?”
“I don’t know anything about church work. I have nothing to contribute.”
But God persists, “You could help clean the Church. You could help with some maintenance items. You could give an hour a week to help in the office. You get along great with kids, you could teach or help out with the Faith Formation Program. You could bring Communion to a parishioner at home. And, you say: ‘I have nothing to give.'”
And what other examples are there that we could add where we say: I have nothing to give? When in fact we do have something, more than we think to give.
When Jesus was confronted by his Disciples with the need to feed the crowds, Jesus first challenges them to give something from what they have. And what happens? The disciples and the people manage to scrape together a few pieces of fish and bread and with that Jesus works the Miracle.
The message today: God is challenging us, the people of 2014, as he did the people of the Gospel some 2000 years ago to give what we have, as little as we think we have or do not have, with faith. For God can change what little we have into revelations of his care and love and ever presence in our midst. Day after day after day as person, family, Parish and the world in which we live daily.